Gov. Ruth Ann Minner signed a bill June 3 renaming the Delaware Correctional Center in honor of the late State Sen. Jim Vaughn of Clayton.

The family of the late State Sen. Jim Vaughn gathered in the office of Gov. Ruth Ann Minner on June 3 for the signing of Senate Bill 230, renaming the Delaware Correctional Center near Smyrna the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center.

“Having his name over this facility, he will always be there watching the people who run it, making sure they run it as he would run it,” said Lt. Gov. John Carney about the senator, who died in October 2007 at the age of 82.

Vaughn, a lifelong resident of the Smyrna-Clayton area, served as Delaware Commissioner of Correction for three years. During his 27 years in the State Senate, he was a member and longtime chairman of the Senate Corrections Committee, later renamed the Adult and Juvenile Corrections Committee.

“We know Jim cared deeply that our correctional center was well run,” Minner said.

Sen. Bruce Ennis of Smyrna, who now holds Vaughn’s former seat in the State Senate, sponsored the bill in honor of Vaughn’s “tireless efforts toward the betterment of Delaware’s prison system.”

“Senator Vaughn spend countless hours studying the operation and funding of Delaware’s prisons and correctional facilities, working tirelessly to bring about improvements and resolve problems as they arose,” Ennis wrote. “During Senator Vaughn’s time in the Delaware State Senate, no one in the General Assembly knew more about the operation of Delaware’s correctional system or spent more time working to ensure that it functioned well and properly.”

All 62 members of the General Assembly affirmed the bill, a testament to the respect Vaughn earned from his colleagues.

“We always held Jim in the highest esteem,” Minner said. “There is not one of us who did not respect his opinion. He worked with enthusiasm, and he represented the people of his district.”
The senator’s son, Superior Court President Judge James Vaughn Jr., said the bill signing was “a little overwhelming” but “a great honor.”

“We’re all very much appreciative that he is being honored in this way,” he said. “I don’t think it would have occurred to him that the prison be named in his honor, but he would have appreciated it.”

The Smyrna-Clayton Little League Park is also named for Sen. Vaughn, a longtime volunteer and coach.